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Survey shows Church-state relations smell rosy but hint not all is well

HONG KONG (SE): The Renmin University in Beijing released the results of what it describes as a multi-year survey on the religious environment in China today in July this year.

ChinaSource reported on August 25 that while the survey results received wide publicity both inside and outside China, the bulk of them highlighted the growing popularity of religion, especially among young people, as well as the growth in Islam.

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China and the cross

Since 2014, an official campaign carrying out the demolition of crosses on Christian churches has been conducted, primarily in Zhejiang province.

Chinese authorities do not like to see crosses dotting the skyline of their country: the cross is a religious, Christian symbol which they see as contradictory to their atheistic ideology.   

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki hold
lessons for war and peace

 NIIGATA (SE): The remembrance of the dropping of the two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 should have as much to teach us about times of peace as times of war.

On August 5, the evening prior to the anniversary of the first atomic attack, the Peace Cathedral in Hiroshima played host to what Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi described as one of the most significant prayer vigils for peace he has ever witnessed.

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China ride for non-government organisations may be rocky

HONG KONG (SE): “The Chinese party-state is tightening the vice on both foreign and domestic non-government organisations (NGO) sending strong new signals of its determination to repress unwelcome foreign influences and activities that spread western values,” Stanley Lubman, from the Berkley School of Law at the University of California, says in an article published by ChinaRealTime on June 16.

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Eastern Asia sees drastic drop in vocations

The Church in eastern Asia is facing a drop in vocations, turning religious congregations and mission societies into an aging group.

In China, religious life remains a sensitive topic to discuss and research. Foreign missionaries were expelled in the 1950s and when religious activity was revived in the 1970s, virtually no religious congregations still existed on the mainland.

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Where encyclical hits the 
nail on the head

HONG KONG (SE): One of the criticisms directed against the recently released encyclical penned by Pope Francis entitled, Laudato Si’: On care for our common home, is that he does not adequately take the ingenuity of the human being into account.

But the type of ingenuity displayed by logging and mining companies on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao that uses every trick in the book to get around national laws designed to protect the environment is well recognised in his landmark work.

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When ancient Chinese stories meet Laudato Si’

What better way to cool our brain in the summer heat than to read some stories from Chinese mythology? 


The 10 suns and archer Yi 

In the Classic of Mountains and Seas, one of the oldest sources of myths in Chinese culture, it was recorded that Di Jun (Lord Superior) had 10 sons. They were the 10 suns. They lived in Scald Valley in the east. 

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Critics of Laudato Si’ are missing the essential point

John Gummer, the Lord Deben, chairperson of the United Kingdom’s independent Committee on Climate Change, writes in the Catholic Herald that both those who have welcomed Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ and those who have dismissed it have missed the point of its disconcerting and prophetic call.

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Synod working document expands scope of family issues and pastoral needs

VATICAN (CNS): The working document (instrumentum laboris), issued at the Vatican on June 23, intended to guide discussions at the Synod of Bishops on the Family in October, incorporates a wider array of issues affecting the family than the final document released after the synod last year.

Where last year’s relatio synodi had 62 paragraphs, the new working document has 147.

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Post-earthquake Nepal wary of child-trafficking threat

Kathmandu (UCAN): In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 and 7.3 earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, authorities have been wary of the scourge of child-trafficking.

“Child trafficking is particularly prominent during time of disasters. And unfortunately, the districts hit by the earthquake belong to the remote, rural and poor communities and the children from there are an easy target now,” said Tarak Dhital, chief of the government’s Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB).